A 2021 buyer’s guide to Android in New Zealand

Summer reissue: When the iPhone owns less than half the market, what are the best Android alternatives at every budget?

A 2020 buyer’s guide to Android phones in New Zealand

Getting a new phone can be one of life’s little pleasures. Many of us hang onto our handsets for two years or more, so when that magic upgrade day finally rolls around, no one should be begrudged the enjoyment of a little retail therapy.

If you want an iPhone there’s only three choices: iPhone SE, iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro. iPhones have 41% market share at the time of writing, but that means 59% of the smartphones in Kiwi pockets are Android – phones that run Google’s Android operating system.

What are your options?

There are fewer Android manufacturers selling in New Zealand than other countries. Europe is the best region for Android diversity, while India, China and the US have their fair share of choices. Over here, you’re looking at Samsung, Huawei and Oppo with a bit of Nokia thrown in occasionally.

The mid-tier ($300-$800)

For this price you’ll get a phone you won’t want to throw against a wall if you try and use anything more than maps and email. You’ll get better cameras and displays, too.

It’s got a 120Hz display that makes everything look smoother, amazing cameras that rival a DSLR in some situations, solid battery life, huge 512GB storage, a pin-sharp screen and performance that makes it a top phone for gaming. Oppo’s Android software has also had a makeover so it’s much nicer to use now.

For the price you might expect wireless charging but instead Oppo bundles a charger than can charge the phone from dead to full in around half an hour. I prefer that convenience, but you might not.